This week my days were so full I almost didn’t do a blog post. Then I remembered that I recently wrote this ripper for lovely Tess of Coast & Country life. Having to sit down and really consider what I believe to have caused the hugest positive changes to my wellbeing and how to do them was a great exercise. These 3 simple steps in your everyday are designed for minimum effort and maximum reward. For me they are my non negotiable and if I don’t make the small amount of time in my day for them I tend to feel a bit “off” having now discovered how great they make you feel. Enjoy, and don’t forget to check out Tess’ blog and all things coast and country life and being a mumma!
Simple things you can do to profoundly improve your wellbeing
by, Harriet Mcmillan, Natural Harry
Good news. You don’t have to meditate like a monk on a mountain top
to be spiritual and feel incredible. Actually, in my opinion, all you need to do is three simple things each day. All cost nothing and take less than 5 minutes. No complicated recipes to follow, no time-consuming programmes on self-development. Three simple short and quick daily practices that will have the most profound, positive effect on your life.
Yep you guessed it. I can hear you saying “but Harry, I have 3 children under 6. I don’t have time to meditate.”
You don’t have to sit cross-legged on a mountain top for hours on end to practice mindfulness. The beauty of meditation is that you can practice it anywhere and for any length of time and you will still keep the incredible benefits and make lasting positive changes in your life. Like with most things consistency is key.
So, try this on for size. When you are in the shower (or on the toilet), wherever you are given the space for two minutes. Place your hand over your heart and breath deep, slow, mindful breaths for two whole minutes. If counting your inhalations and exhalations helps do that. Four counts to breathe in, hold at the top for two counts and slowly exhale five, six, seven, eight counts, hold at the bottom and repeat. Don’t fight thoughts that pop up in your head. Thoughts are part of meditation. Acknowledge them and then let them go. keep breathing, deeply and slowly and then gently crack open your eyes. Take this calm, expansive feeling into your day. Whenever you feel stress or overwhelm begin to creep up, do this and you will be instantly centred.
Yes, I know, definitely not another new idea here either. Proper hydration is something so many people overlook yet it is absolutely vital to our wellbeing. More than that, to our feelings of well-being. I can see how people can overlook this one. It’s easy to get carried away with your day and forget to drink water (and good quality water at that).
When you first wake up in the morning, before you shower, before you have breakfast (or make 4 people and a dog breakfast), before you have a cup of tea and rush out the door drink one litre of water. Yes, one whole litre of water. The earlier in your day the better to avoid a rushed trip to a public loo later.
I honestly cannot tell you the profound effect this simple, free, practice has had on my health. You feel clearer, lighter, more vital and just an all round sense of wellness. If you are a seasoned coffee drinker and rely on this to wake you up in the morning you may even discover that you don’t need one.
Nature = nurture. Just like the little ones you look after each day, you too need a bit of nurturing. Let mother nature give you a helping hand here. There is nothing more healing.
When out and about, walking to the shops or strolling around until the little one falls asleep at a park (or the beach if you are lucky enough to live near one). Take your shoes off and ground yourself. Allow your feet to sink into the cool sand. Sit there with the sun on your face, close your eyes and take in the breeze. Our lives are full of rushing, organising, assisting, giving, cooking, cleaning and our careers. All of these things require us to be in a state of yang for long periods of time. This simple, beautiful practice aims to balance out a bit of that yang energy with some yin allowing you to feel supported and nurtured, calm and alert. Not to mention the negative irons that you absorb in the process. Give it a go and see how you feel.
So there you have it. Now, you have had the good news and you are feeling all inspired, ready to drink heaps of water and meditate, would you like the great news?
I thought so. These simple practices don’t only work for one day. Like all good mindful practices, they have a cumulative effect. Be consistent and the small changes you do today (which will take a total of 6 minutes out of your day) will accumulate into huge positive changes in your life in the future.
Look after yourself, everyone around you will thank you for it.